Message from the Ambassador
Dear Visitor – Thank you for taking the time to use the business page of our Embassy website and to learn more about business opportunities in Kosovo. Since its independence in 2008, Kosovo has made substantial progress in establishing and developing free market policies and legislation, and improving its business climate. Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and has signed a framework agreement with the European Investment Bank. Kosovo enjoys free trade with all of its neighbors and is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). Kosovo maintains Preferential Trade Status with the EU and has Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) privileges with the United States, with an emphasis on light manufacturing, minerals, building materials, and certain agricultural products. In April 2016, Kosovo signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, further liberalizing the market and opening markets with the EU.
As a developing country, Kosovo offers a range of ground-floor investment opportunities in the mining, energy, and agricultural sectors. Kosovo possesses the fifth largest lignite reserves in the world and has an abundance of non-energy minerals and natural resources with investment potential. Infrastructure, healthcare, and telecommunications are also investment possibilities. Franchising is another area of opportunity. Kosovo opened its first U.S. franchise, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, in August 2016. Kosovo’s population, the youngest in Europe, is Western-oriented, with many speaking English and having lived, worked, or studied abroad.
In recent years, Kosovo has improved its business climate: the Government of Kosovo recently implemented a new fiscal package to spur economic development, attract foreign investment, and increase revenues. It established a 10 percent flat corporate and personal income tax rate, removed several redundant permits and licenses, and took measures to increase the ease of doing business. The government reestablished the National Council for Economic Development (NCED), chaired by the Minister of Trade and Industry, in which many ministries and the local chambers of commerce participate.
Kosovo’s business and investment climate also has some challenges, which the Embassy is ready to help U.S. companies to navigate. Despite progress in recent years, deficiencies in bureaucratic and technical capacities at the local and central government levels remain a challenge to economic development. Backlogs in court cases continue despite the 2010 adoption of a “National Backlog Reduction Strategy” by the Kosovo Judicial Council. Corruption remains a challenge and reflects a “cost-of-doing-business” mentality prevalent in many parts of the region. Anticorruption has become a top priority for U.S. Embassy efforts in Kosovo.
Kosovo is modernizing its infrastructure: the Route 7 highway, built by the U.S.-Turkish consortium Bechtel-Enka, connects Kosovo with Albania and makes it possible to travel from the capital Pristina to the Adriatic coast in less than four hours. A new highway to Macedonia, Route 6, is under construction and will similarly facilitate trade, commerce, travel, and tourism. The government is also working to privatize a range of publicly owned assets: it reopened Pristina International Airport under a concession agreement with a modern new terminal, finalized the privatization of its energy distribution network, and recently approved the private construction of the new coal-fired thermal power plant, Kosova e Re.
With a good legal framework, competitive wages, strong U.S. brand loyalty, and an effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment, now is the time for the private sector, especially foreign investors, to take advantage of the many opportunities that Kosovo has to offer.
We look forward to hearing from you and supporting your business plans.